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Most Valuable Pony (Aug. 10-16): Swiss Skydiver

by Jeremy Plonk

August 17, 2020

Each Monday, I’ll select my Most Valuable Pony from the previous week’s racing action around the country. Who won the week? It could be a breakout performer, a known stakes commodity or the horse lifting the most loot. Chime in on Twitter @Xpressbet with your thoughts on who should be each week’s MVP.

August 10-16, 2020

MVP: Swiss Skydiver

Owner: Peter Callahan

Trainer: Kenny McPeek

Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione

Performance: Similar to Tiz the Law’s Travers demolition a week prior, Swiss Skydiver dominated the Aug. 15 Grade 1 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga over a mile and one-quarter. The well-traveled filly added to her 2020 victories in the Gulfstream Park Oaks, Santa Anita Oaks and Fantasy Stakes by coasting under the wire 3-1/2 lengths to the good. Just like Tiz the Law, Swiss Skydiver sat a first-over trip and pressed a Bob Baffert trainee on the front end, easily putting away Crystal Ball and opening more than 6 lengths on the field in mid-stretch before being throttled down. She solidified her position atop the 3-year-old dirt filly ranks along with Acorn/Test winner Gamine.

On Tap: After the Alabama, trainer Kenny McPeek indicated the Sept. 4 Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks would be the next likely landing spot with an eye toward a potential Oct. 3 Grade 1 Preakness date. Expect to see Swiss Skydiver in the Oaks (vs. Gamine) unless something unforeseen happens to Sept. 5 Grade 1 Kentucky Derby favorite Tiz the Law’s status. Longer-range, the Alabama was a Win & You’re In for the Nov. 7 Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Keeneland, meaning we could see quite a historic run of races if this filly maintains her sterling 2020 form.

Honorable Mentions: Early Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies favoritism may go to Thoughtfully after her smashing, 5-length win in Saratoga’s August 12 Grade 2 Adirondack Stakes. The Tapit filly is unbeaten in 2 starts for trainer Steve Asmussen. At Woodbine, reigning Canadian Horse of the Year Pink Lloyd continued his sprint dominance August 15 in the Grade 3 Bold Venture. He’s now won 9 straight and 25 of 30 races in his outstanding career. Finally, the versatile 3-year-old filly Antoinette moved dirt-to-turf to win the Aug. 16 $500,000 Saratoga Oaks Invitational in her second start of the meet. The Bill Mott trainee finished third in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks prior.